by Ward Hogland
Not too long ago I received a phone call from a young preacher in Tennessee. He said, “Brother Hogland, I am in a quandary. My elders called me in on the carpet and told me to stop saying that I preach the truth. They advised me to start saying, I preach what I believe to be the truth! What should I do?”
Now, before you read the rest of this, what advice would you give to this young preacher? I must admit, for a few seconds it stunned me. After my human psyche settled down, I said, “Say both!”
If a preacher is honest, he is certainly preaching what he believes to be the truth. On the other hand, if he believes the truth can be understood, he is also preaching the truth. What say you?
If one is forbidden to say he preaches the truth, but only what he believes to be the truth, this leaves the impression that truth is so elusive that one cannot find it. This is the argument of infidels and atheists. They tell us that truth is relative and one cannot find it.
When Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32), He should have said, “Ye shall know what you believe to be the truth and the truth will make you free.” But this would not make good sense, since what we believe to be the truth may not be the truth!
I understand that just because a preacher says he is preaching the truth does not make it so. However, Luke gives us the solution to the problem when he says, “Search the Scriptures daily whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). If we can’t know the truth, why search the Bible to see if a preacher is really preaching the truth?
Kind friend, I don’t believe it is wrong for a preacher to say he is preaching the truth. But I beg my audience to check me out to see if I am really preaching the truth. I tell them they are my friends if they will take their Bibles and show me if I am in error. This will cause both of us to get our Bibles down and study until we find the truth.
Oh yes, I agree that no man knows all the truth. But thank God that is not required to go to heaven! If it is, none of us will make it. I tell folks they may not know all the truth but they can know enough truth to get to heaven. Now isn’t that wonderful?